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Encountering trials

Posted by on May 20, 2020 in Daily walk, Help from God, James 1, Prayer Perspective | Comments Off on Encountering trials

I cracked open my Bible today to James 1. This section jumped right out at me:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Consider it all JOY?? If you are anything like the various people I’ve been keeping up with, your life is getting hit from all sides with varying levels of agitation, piles of distraction, a suffocating sense of cabin fever, perhaps overwhelming grief or loneliness, concerns about finances and health, and the creeping helplessness of uncertainty. I could list all of the things hitting me, but your list is probably longer and more intense! HELP!

But when I gazed on that phrase, consider it all joy, it brought a smile to my face and a sense of relief to the pit of my stomach. Oh, yeah!! I remembered. God is capable of helping me through all of this!

Yup. The trials are here. We are all encountering them, big and small, piled up and weighing us down with all the typical symptoms of stress and anxiety. That means every one of us qualifies for this James 1 exhortation, and the good news is this: We will emerge on the other side of every one of these trials!

You and I may not see instant results, though. That’s OK, because the main ingredient in making it successfully through any trial that hits you (next to leaning hard on Jesus) is ENDURANCE. Perseverance. Not giving up. Knowing that this trial—and all of these trials—will be behind you at some point.

You have made it through past trials. God steadied you, covered you, assisted you…He was there with you back then; He is with you now. He is faithful. That is what you nail your endurance to—His faithfulness to you. Bind yourself to that Rock with the good sturdy rope of Truth and refuse to untie it. He will see you through every one of these tests, both great and small. He loves you.

As you hunker down in tight proximity with Him, endurance will be working on your behalf by the hand of God. Oh, so subtly, but oh, so thoroughly, endurance will have its perfect work. You will make it through Trial 1. You will make it through Trial 2. You will make it through Trial 3….and all the rest of those attacks against your peace, your health, your finances, your sanity, your loved ones, and maybe even your very life.

Most of all, though, you will have walked through this season—perhaps while feeling like a total loser—choosing to fix not only your gaze but your entire being as well on the Capable One who loves you and is willing to hold you close. As you do, my friend, you will find at the end of this onslaught of piled up trials, that you will be perfect (as opposed to destroyed) and complete, lacking nothing.

May God, the Capable One, help all of us.


© 2020, Dorothy Frick

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James 1:27—Pure and undefiled religion

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in James 1 | Comments Off on James 1:27—Pure and undefiled religion

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

James wrote in verse 25 that if you think you’re religious but don’t bridle your tongue, your religion is worthless.

On the other hand, he wrote that your relationship with God is pure and undefiled if two qualities are present in your life: 1.) You visit orphans and widows in their distress; 2.) You keep yourself unstained by the world.

  • …visit orphans and widows in their distress…

The most helpless souls of James’ time were those who had lost the breadwinner of the household—orphans and widows. They are among the most helpless of our day, as well. James declares that your motives before God are demonstrated as pure and undefiled when you visit such as these in their time of distress, making yourself available to them when they are most devastated.

Jesus extends the list in Matthew 25. He said, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” The righteous asked, “When did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?” His response was, “To the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (see Matthew 25:35-40).

Your active kindness is to extend to widows and orphans, the hungry and thirsty, strangers, the homeless and those without adequate clothing, the sick and those in prison, your pastors (see 1 Timothy 5:17), those who share your faith (see Galatians 6:10), the wicked and those who hate you (see Matthew 5:44 and Romans 12:20), and everyone else.

You are called to walk in love with all people and are to make particular effort to be available to others when they are distressed and suffering loss. As you seek God about how to follow through, know that you are engaged in the pure and undefiled demonstration of your religion.

  • …keep oneself unstained by the world.

Stains happen when an object comes in contact with something that soils or discolors it. You are cleansed by the blood of Jesus and are righteous in His sight, but you come into contact with the outside world and the ups and downs of normal life every day. As a result, you run the risk of your soul being impacted and soiled by whatever you encounter.

A situation that occurred in the life of Jesus illustrates this. When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, Peter tried to stop Him, alarmed that the Lord would stoop to such a lowly endeavor. Jesus responded, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me,” indicating the necessity of submitting to the Lord’s washing.

Then Peter, always full of passion, demanded that Jesus wash not only his feet, but his head and hands, as well.

Jesus replied, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet [representing that which is in regular contact with the world], but is completely clean; and you are clean” (see John 13:5-10). You, also, are clean due to your faith in Christ; but to assume that you won’t be affected by the world you touch every day is naive.

The way you keep yourself unstained by the world is to recognize that daily life brings you into contact with the various staining elements of the world, and therefore you need to take regular “baths”. You keep yourself clean by confessing sin to the Lord when you become aware of it, by receiving the forgiveness already purchased for you by His blood, by the washing of the water of the Word (see Ephesians 5:26), and by letting the rivers of God within you flow out in worship and praise.

A pure and undefiled walk with the Lord is relatively basic. It involves visiting orphans and widows in their distress and keeping yourself unstained by the world. As you integrate the love walk and humble consecration into your life, you’ll become an effectual doer of the Word and will be blessed in what you do.


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James 1:26—Worthless, unbridled deception

Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in James 1 | Comments Off on James 1:26—Worthless, unbridled deception

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. James 1:26

I’ll bet no one ever said to this apostle, “James; tell us what you really think.” My guess is that if James were alive today, he would not be the most popular preacher in town. Party invitations might be skimpy, as well.

However, this baby brother of Jesus speaks straight into the heart of every believer and gives each of us a chance to reflect and make adjustments.

If anyone thinks himself to be religious…

I know—we’re in a relationship, not a religion; I agree. But in today’s vernacular, James could have easily said, “If anyone thinks himself to be in relationship…” The Greek word for “religious”, by the way, means “fearing or worshipping God” (see ), not the mere outward show of religion. Therefore, James is speaking to all of us who believe that we fear and worship God.

…and yet does not bridle his tongue…

Remember to whom James was writing—blood-bought, righteous, cleansed-from-sin men and women of God, not the world. James boldly set the bar high for Christian conversation, and as much as you or I may want to wiggle that bar down a bit to suit our situations and “deep concerns”, this bar was fixed in place back then and remains just as immovable today. Ouch.

The standard James upheld was that you and I bridle our tongues. This issue burned in his heart; he wrote in depth about it later in his letter. However, including it in his section on temptation and trial, he revealed a key element to successful endurance while under any attack—bridle your tongue.

Notice that James placed the responsibility of tongue-bridling on each individual. You and I are accountable before God for all of our words. Good news, though, if you have a hard time bridling your tongue: Psalm 141:3 says, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” This verse has been a true help for me when I have been tempted to speak out of turn; indeed, I have developed a well-worn path to this verse in prayer.

At key times when facing trials, I have bridled my tongue; I have also let my tongue do its own thing a time or two when under attack. I have kept track, and according to my documentation—duly noted in conformity with the scientific method—when encountering trials, the bridled tongue produces far better results.

During those key attacks when I bridled my tongue—whether concerning other people, health, finances, emotional turmoil, stress, or something else—the trial didn’t always resolve as quickly as I would have liked, but when it did resolve, there was cleanness to the outcome. I walked away with gratefulness to God and wonder at His working. The memory of those trials—when walked through with a bridled tongue—produce joy and a great sense of victory.

On the other hand, I have walked through numerous other trials with my mouth flapping away. I’ve been angry, upset, disappointed, scared, hurt, and I let others hear about it again and again; and even if the trial resolved quickly, there was a sense of loss, nonetheless. It’s uncanny how this happens. Without fail, when I let my mouth run—even though God eventually comes through for me—I feel the let down of my disobedience along the way…and it is so avoidable! My scientific experimentation with bridled and unbridled tongue during trials proves conclusively—the bridled tongue is better!

…but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

James cuts no slack. When you allow your mouth to spew out unbridled words, take serious heed and put a stop to it. If you continue unchecked, you will deceive your own heart. This is a sober warning.

Perhaps most grievous of all, however, is James’ assessment concerning the religion (or relationship with Christ) of the Christian who proceeds unrestrained with unbridled speech. James writes this man’s religion is worthless. It is devastating to think that I could go through life as a professing Christian, and yet come to realize that due to my undisciplined speaking, it was all for naught.

These are sobering words, but they are Truth. As I think about this verse, I am aware of areas in my life that I must shore up and allow the Lord to correct. I pray that you, as well, will find the help you need to shore up your words and your walk with Him. It’s His will that you grow to be perfect and complete—unblemished by your words—and lacking in nothing.

Let Him help you.


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James 1:25—Abiding and blessed

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in James 1 | Comments Off on James 1:25—Abiding and blessed

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.  James 1:25

The psalmist David wrote long before James’ time, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” (Psalm 103:1-2). He admonished his soul (about which James wrote, as well) to bless the Lord. He did so by blessing the name of the Lord and by forgetting none of the Lord’s benefits.

James, in verse 25, reveals how to keep this circle of blessing unbroken. The circle begins with blessing the Lord Himself as David wrote and moves into forgetting none of His wonderful benefits. James arrives on the scene centuries later and discloses how you can put the benefits of God into active remembrance—you look intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty.

[The] one who looks intently at the perfect law…

This is a description of you. By prioritizing the Word of God, you are looking intently at the perfect law. Whenever you read the Bible or a Scripture-directed devotional or book, you are prioritizing the Word of God. Whenever you praise God with songs from the Scripture, you are prioritizing the Word of God. Whenever you think about a verse from the Bible and repeat it to yourself or in prayer, you are prioritizing the Word of God. As you continue in these behaviors, making them a part of your life—in addition to listening to solid Bible messages at church, other meetings, or through the means of media—not only will the Word build within you and give you more strength and clarity, but you will find that your time in the Bible is a joy and a fulfilling adventure as well. This is how you look intently at the perfect law, and this is how you forget none of His benefits.

…the law of liberty…

When Bible truth comes on the scene, it brings liberty. Oh, the Word will correct behavior and attitude, make no mistake, but Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (see John 8:31-32). The law of liberty frees you from bondage to sin. The so-called freedom that pervades our society encourages bondage to sin. The law of liberty will free you from the fear of man. The supposed liberty of our generation makes you a slave to the opinions of others. (Ever hear of political correctness?) There is a huge difference.

…and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer…

The psalmist wrote, “Forget none of His benefits.” You accomplish this by abiding by the Word of God. The Greek word for “abide” is paramenō and means “to remain beside, continue always near” (see ). You keep His Word nearby; you continue with it close at hand. “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart” (see Romans 10:8). Another definition of paramenō is “to survive, remain alive”. If you abide by the Word, you survive by it; you remain alive due to it working within you. Jesus told the devil trying to tempt Him, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (see Matthew 4:4), signaling the true path to finding sustenance in life—God’s Word.

The only way to avoid forgetfulness is to abide in this close relationship with the Word of God. This produces the power within you to become an effectual doer.

…this man will be blessed in what he does.

David revealed the beginning of the circle of blessing: “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” and pointed further down the curve of its arc: forget none of His benefits (see Psalm 103:1-2). James picked up the thread, demonstrating how to continue on the circuit of blessing—abide by the Word. Don’t be forgetful with it. Let it develop you into an effective doer.

And as the circle winds back up to its start—Bless the Lord—James wrote that this man [you] will be blessed in what he does.

It is a good thing to bless the Lord. You do so by not forgetting any of His benefits. You can avoid forgetfulness by abiding in the magnificent Word of God—the law of liberty. And as you allow Bible truth to abide within you, you will not forget it, and you will grow in the grace and strength and effectiveness of the Word of God.

And you will be blessed in what you do.


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James 1:23-24—Spiritual forgetfulness

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in James 1 | Comments Off on James 1:23-24—Spiritual forgetfulness

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;  for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. James 1:23-24

Sometimes I catch a quick glimpse of my reflection in a mirror and think Hello! Who is that woman?! My mom? The shock startles me back into reality; the days of that fresh, young face are gone (at least without some “work”). And then I walk away from the mirror, and it happens all over again. I forget what I look like!

James writes that you can forget what kind of person you are. What kind of person are you? If you are in Christ, you are a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you (see Romans 8:37). You are the righteousness of God in Him (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). You are redeemed through His blood and have forgiveness of sins (see Ephesians 1:7). You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (see Philippians 4:13).

Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, you are an heir of amazing promises and privileges. And yet as James writes, you might walk away from your Bible study and forget everything you learned.

How does this happen? You hear the Word, but you don’t put it into practice. You may have Scripture plaques or paintings all over the walls of your home, but if you neglect to act on what they say, you may as well have a picture of poker-playing dogs up on that wall, instead. Verses of the Bible, although used to adorn walls, clothing, and jewelry, were never originally spoken out of the mouth of God for the mere purpose of adorning a handbag, belt buckle, or framed painting. There’s nothing wrong with those things; however, God’s intent with His Word is to transform your life, not to simply bring a decorative touch to it.

The Bible is the only kind of mirror in existence which, when you look into it, shows you who you are, not necessarily how you appear. When you are born again by the Word, you are immediately forgiven, cleansed, and made righteous. But the kind of change that takes place in your life and behavior as you continue to gaze in the Word does not happen automatically, or as one preacher said, “Fall on you like ripe cherries from a tree”. This transformation occurs in you over time as you trust God and act consistently upon the truth you see in the mirror of the Word.

As you feed on the Word, allow it to sink into your soul and ask the Lord questions about how it applies to you. Let Him challenge you with His Word and permit Him to use it to form new thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors to replace those in your life that are not from Him.

How do you avoid spiritual forgetfulness? You hear the Word and then act on it, allowing its transforming power to work in your life. But be patient as you persist—it’s a lifelong adventure.

Look long into the mirror of the Word and purpose in your heart not to forget who you are!


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James 1:22—Not a hearer only

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in James 1 | Comments Off on James 1:22—Not a hearer only

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. James 1:22, NASB

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  NIV

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!  Message Bible

Nothing shouts HYPOCRITE so loudly to the outside world as Christians who take great efforts to hear and speak the Word yet do nothing to let it play itself out in their attitudes and behaviors.

In the early days of the Church James observed this tendency in his fellow believers; over time, not much has changed. The penchant for hearing the Word while neglecting to let it influence and direct day to day choices is still a huge challenge for most of us.

James is not condemning his fellow Christians; he is merely refusing to condone or endorse hypocrisy. He is bringing correction to the Church of his time, and this clarion call rings down through the centuries, bringing correction to generations of believers all the way to our time.

In your attempt to solve the hypocrisy issue, don’t be like the woman with a Jesus sticker on her car who decided that she could relieve the inconsistency between her faith and her speeding—by removing the sticker!

Go ahead—hear the Word. But as you hear it, interact with it and let it influence how you think, behave, and respond. Don’t ditch it to protect yourself from being a hypocrite! It’s the Word itself that will make you the real, genuine article—you’ve just got to let it work within you.

Nor be like some teens I knew in a Christian school who resented the lesson in Bible class on how to listen to and obey their consciences. The accountability factor made them angry; they didn’t want to be answerable for their choices.

Let the Word correct you. Just like you correct your children when they do things that could harm them, so it is with God’s Word. Of course it isn’t fun or exhilarating to yield to its correction; but it will save your soul and may save your job, your relationships, your sanity, or even your life.

The most uncomfortable phrase in this verse is “who delude themselves”. Not only do “hearers only” appear phony to the outside world, but they end up deceiving themselves. Jesus is the Truth; the Word of God is truth; and the state of delusion equates to a big old lie—something the devil is the father of (see John 8:44). When you hear the Word but neglect to let it correct or change you, you end up being deluded—living a lie and opening yourself up to the father of lies.

If you catch yourself falling into this pattern—all hearing, no doing—recognize it as a snare of the devil. Repent and cry out to God. He will gladly forgive and deliver you, and He will set your feet back on solid ground. Just resolve from here on out to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.

He will help you!


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